The Adventures of Bayou Billy
Box Shot
The Adventures of Bayou Billy
Platform: NES
Publisher: Konami
Designer: Konami
Genre: Beat-em-up/Shooting/Driving
Players: 1
Published Date 1989
Reviewed by: Rob Strangman

1988 and 1990 were both good years for Konami - 1988 saw the release of many classic NES games - Contra, Life Force and Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, for example. 1990 saw the release of some more NES classics - Super C, Snake's Revenge, and Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse are the big standouts of '90. 1989 wasn't that good for Konami, though. They could have released Gradius II and started a great year, but it didn't happen. Konami was relatively quiet that year - in fact, one of the only Konami game released that year was a curious Double Dragon/Operation Wolf/Roadblasters mix called The Adventures of Bayou Billy. While not a terrible game by any means, Konami could have tweaked the gameplay and the controls and had a fantastic game. However, Bayou Billy came off as merely average.

You play Bayou Billy, "a regular swamp superhero". Billy does his best to stop the evil dealings of Gordon, the "gangster king of Bourbon Street", often stopping his drug shipments, his illegal smuggling, and all of the other seedy dealings that Gordon is involved in. Finally, Gordon has enough of Billy's meddling and kidnaps his "best girl", Annabelle. Now it's up to Billy to get Annabelle back and take down Gordon. . . for good.

The graphics are typical Konami - very good, with that "Konami look" to them (if you've played any other Konami game, you know what I mean). The music (what of it there is), is good too, especially the first level's theme (it can get stuck in your head easily). The sound effects are decent: there's even some goofy speech at the beginning of the game (a lame sounding voice says "The Adventures of Bayou Billy!" It's quite amusing). It's the game's controls that bring Bayou Billy down, however.

Bayou Billy is divided into three different categories - fighting, shooting, and driving. The only category that controls good would be the shooting sequences (aim you Zapper at the screen and fire - wow. Or use the control pad to fire (a novel approach for an NES game - you could choose to play with the controller or the zapper in the shooting scenes), which isn't too bad either). The fighting sequences play like Double Dragon with lousy controls: it can be hard to get Billy to move, and it's hard to get him to jumpkick sometimes (not that it really does too much damage anyway. . .). The driving sequences aren't much better - you have two weapons on your jeep (machine gun and grenades), which are really only effective close up. Half the time your jeep seems like it's stuck in molasses, and it can be hard to dodge any oncoming cars (always try to shoot them first).

The other big problem with Bayou Billy is the difficulty: it's pretty hard. It takes forever for Billy to do damage to Gordon's thugs in the fighting modes, and when they gang up on you they can kick your ass in no time. There are nine LONG levels to go through, and you've got to complete it in one shot - there are NO continues! There's not a lot of food lying around, so you've got to take as little damage as possible, which is next to impossible.

There is a plus - there's a training mode where you can train in any of the three scenarios. If you complete one, the game tells you that you've done well and that you will get a reward (it's different for each scenario - extra health in the fighting scenes, extra time in the driving scenes, and extra bullets in the shooting scenes). This can help during the actual game, but not too much: it's like giving a defenseless town three or four missles to stop an advancing army. Continues or passwords would have helped A LOT more, guys.

Like I said before, The Adventures of Bayou Billy isn't a completely terrible game: if you can get used to the controls and the difficulty, you'll be all set. It's a good idea that just wasn't done as well as it could have been. . .